Hillsong diagnoses depression – UPDATED

I’ve been open in recent years about the fact that I have depression and I am always interested in how it is perceived, portrayed and dealt with.

I was reading an article in the weekend papers on the very popular Hillsong pentecostal churches in Sydney. They are seen to have sufficient clout that in recent times they have had visits and speeches from the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the previous Premier of New South Wales. Whilst I didn’t find the article overly interesting, there was a mention about the Church’s attitude to depression which I found hard to believe, so I checked out their website.

On the website, under the section headed “Other Teaching”, there is an article called “You Can Be Depression-Free”. If I wasn’t depressed before, I sure am after reading this -

The bottom line is: depression is a supernatural spirit of destruction straight from the devil, and as such, needs to be treated like an enemy. We must take a strong stand against it and deny it any power in our lives.

Depression stems from an underlying root of unbelief in God’s care, His goodness, His faithfulness, or even His ability to get you out of seemingly “impossible” situations.

And I thought Scientology’s views about depression were bad!

I wonder if Hillsong’s various counselling services receive any government funding.

NEW DEVELOPMENT:
In what I am sure is a total coincidence, the page I linked to on the Hillsong website on Sunday morning no longer exists by Monday afternoon. However, due to the magic of Google caching, you can see the cached version of the original page by clicking here

61 Comments

  1. I don’t believe that Aussie spirit does exist. Aussie spirit is nothing more than national pride and patriotism, the same “spirit” that people from other nationalities have.

    The woman who was sexually abused as a child needs to know that her self worth was damaged by another person, not a “spirit” from within her, somehow making it the fault of the victim.

    Funerals are held for the living, and for a variety of reasons, the dead don’t care – Kerry Packer would not have been loved by all who attended his funeral.

  2. No body ever said the abused woman was ever at fault herself . you completely misinterpret that .ALSO YOU COMPLETELY MISS THE POINT ABOUT THE FUNERAL.It is for the living but if there is no spiritual aspect to humanity it is a pointless exercize ! Going back to the abused person…frequently they are so deeply affected so deeply hurt that their own inner voice is telling themselves that and it is a lie . I talk to depressed and abused people every day and have done so for 26 years . tHERE ARE many causes of depression and many are relatively simply explained in terms of a series of bad experinces, bereavemnt , excess work hours , genetics , alcohol, marijuana use etc. They have no spiritual aspect .Unfortunately some overenthusiastic pentecostals have on occasion rushed in witha ”spiritual cure ”. Sometimes medical professionals have also made bad mistakes with bad results so pentecostals are not alone in their ability to make mistakes . Sometimes you see intelligent ,articualte , well educated people who have had excellent medical and psychological treatment for say some abuse issue for example . Yet at the end of the day it cannot restore the nagging inner feeling that somehow they are unworthy . One sometimes see people who have had some ”religious experince” spititual healing , revelation of gods love for them or whatever you want to call it but the fact remains that for whatever reason they have some inner healing or change that unlocks the key to their self esteem . Now you may say those church people lied to you , get back to the psychologist but I for one am not going to be that arrogant or callous .I will be delighted for them .The skeptic in me may say we will wait some time and see if it is sustained and often it is . As well as that they may be ina church which sings ,claps ,dances jumps around all of which is good for inducing endorphins which aid depression .They may get a sermon with a positive message . they may now be involved in a sense of cmmunity which also helps in depression and they may be involved in church activities helping others in their community and abroad all of which may aid their sense of self . For young people this is all in a drug and alcohol free environment, two well known depressants .

  3. Modern medicine shows exercize is as effective as medication and cognitive behaviour therapy for mild -moderate depression which seems to me modern medicine is not as scientifically advanced in treating depression as some would believe . Electro convulsive treatment is back in vogue and the science behind that is medieval . perhaps someone should sponsor a study to look at Christianities benefits to depression ? might be an interesting comparison .

  4. I wouldn’t mind a study to look at christianity / religion as causes of mental health problems.

  5. I am a born again Christian and have suffered from life threatening depression while training to be a minister. In desperation and with enormous embarrassment at my lack of faith as well as heaps of sexual guilt I sought a Christian psychiatrist. It took 5 years to get healthy. I’m still a Christian and miraculously, now happily married most of the time. My advice is dont commit suicide but take Valium if you need to. Slowly venture into physical and social activities when you can summon up the courage. Try and focus on that little speck of white light in the black mess. God is love. My mother said she believed in me. Read CS Lewis books. Read Keith Miller books. Christianity works against you when it emphasises judgement. Keep away from Pentecostal churches until you are strong enough to handle the demons yourself. I actually had a girlfriend who was a charo and nearly committed to her and joined her church. I would have tried to tolerate the speaking in tounges which I think is mostly a load of rubbish. I am glad God helped me to be patient and wait.

  6. Brian Hou$ton (finally) responds on the depression issue.

    http://www2.hillsong.com/media/default.asp?pid=974

    ““Neither I, nor any of my staff, have ever made comments about depression as those recently attributed to Hillsong. We are extremely sensitive to the very real issues surrounding depression, and through a range initiatives and programs, including counselling services and support groups, we endeavour to help those experiencing depression overcome what can often be a debilitating issue in their life.

    The quote in question was part of a contributed guest article and was taken completely out of context.

    Brian Houston – Senior Pastor”

  7. Civitas

    Sorry I have not responded to your blog before now. Here we go:

    I find you are using a lot of rhetorical, irrelevant, and diversionary arguments.

    “Why would it be any more concerning for them to do so than any other non-medical source? What if a group of professional wrestlers gave an opinion on a medical condition? Would that be equally as upsetting? How on earth do you stop people from giving opinions, on ANYTHING? ”

    It is no more concerning. It would still be highly inappropriate. But I haven’t come across professional wrestlers giving public sermons on medical conditions or deliberately misrepresenting themselves as professional counsellors on medical issues. So it’s not really an appropriate argument. It’s completely minimising the issue by suggesting this misleading representation is just people giving an “opinion”.

    “Is John Howard a doctor? Are people hanging onto Howard’s words for medical advice?”

    Again, what’s the point of these rhetorical and irrelevant questions. When JH has the power to decide what organisation will get funds and what will not, such as removing funds for state budgeting that could be channelled into state health, then it becomes quite a serious issue. When he himself publicly gives his uninformed ‘opinion’ on depressions that further marginalises sufferers, he misuses his power for public office. He should know better, but he doesn’t.

  8. I think it was best said by Tom Cruise (renown “religious” high priest): “You don’t know the history of professional wrestlers in the medical profession. I do.”

    Or something like that.

  9. Am I wrong or have some churches put forward the belief that cancer can be cured etc if you have enough faith? Implying that those who aren’t cured don’t have .. which could be sumised to mean that they are influenced by the devil.

    Andrew, you are perhaps over sensitive on the depression angle, but it is an angle that has no doubt be put forward about all ailments, not only by the church but the media too. Let it go and it will go away ..

  10. In response to Rob’s question, “have some churches put forward the belief that cancer can be cured etc if you have enough faith?”, the answer is yes. Leon Fontaine, pastor of Winnipeg Canada’s Springs Church (Very closely connected to Hillsong http://www.springs.ca), teaches these ideas which have been past down from other big figures in the “Health and Wealth” movement. The following are audio clips with Mr.Fontaine on record saying such things:

    http://www.jarrettmoffatt.com/?p=152

    http://www.jarrettmoffatt.com/?p=95

    Another interesting statement made by Mr.Fontaine is his belief that he will live to 120 through ‘Jesus living on the inside’ of him.

    http://www.jarrettmoffatt.com/?p=121

    Hope that helps a little bit.

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